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The inner life of an "at-risk" teenager, told in an idiosyncratic and often surreal manner. A key film by Sid Davis, who is beginning to emerge as one of the great unsung talents of educational filmmaking. Shot in working-class Inglewood, Hollywood and other parts of the Los Angeles basin.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Director: Arthur Swerdloff
Producer: Sid Davis
Production Company: Sid Davis Productions
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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John OBrien -
Subject: step father name
Does anyone know who played the role of step father in this great film>
Subject: Camp value?
Though many of these 1950's instructional films might be said to have camp value, I can't see it in this one. It's pretty pathetic. I wonder who this flm was made for.... high school couselors maybe?
Subject: age 13
i love in some of these films although the plot is simple and straight forward, the craziest things seem to happen. like how the kid puts his stepdad's cat on a train (with saucer of milk) and how the narrator casually mentions how normal it is for the kid to believe that fixing the radio will somehow bring his mother back to life.
the stepdad is great. he has the worst time ever.
Subject: age 13
I see the point they are trying to make with this film.My question is this,is it just me or is the dubbing bad on this film?Its not a complaint,just a question.When the boy cried out at his mothers funeral I swear it sounded like a little girls voice,maybe his voice is just high pitched since he is only "age 13".Also I know this part of the movie was not supposed to be funny but when that cat cried out and he dropped the mirror,I was in tears over the sound that cat made! I rewound it 3 times to hear that freaky,scary cat sound.
Subject: "Age 13" is interesting
The first part of the film caught my interest right away. A good production, the dubbing of the dialog could have been better done.
Most of other Sid Davis' films that I've seen are notable for their heavy-handed morality (The Terrible Truth and Boys Beware come to mind), but this one is surprisingly even-handed, although without any narration at all it would have been even better. The 3 dimensionality of Andrew's character vs. the stock characters everyone else plays makes for a nice contrast.
Rick Prelinger -
Subject: Homegrown surrealism
If you have seen Luis Bunuel's LOS OLVIDADOS (distributed in the US at one time under the title THE YOUNG AND THE DAMNED) you may recognize some of Bunuel's sensibility in this film.
Subject: There's Sid Davis.. And then there's this.
Simply awesome melodrama about a kid who loses his mother and then starts his downward spiral, striking everything in his path down. I am guessing this was the coup de grace for Sid Davis, as this film tries with some really creative cinematography, angles and acting from the lead, who was REALLY quite good. Unfortunately, everything else suffers (but in a good way). The dubbed voices sound like they are coming from 2 people only, the other actors in the cast don't shine as the lead, and there's some rather weird directorial flourishes you wonder if old Sid was tipping his hat to Ed Wood Jr or Dolores Wishman. Nevertheless, I can't reccomend this movie enough, and of course is a MUST SEE on this site!
Steve Nordby -
This film departed from the clinical B/W JD films of its era by showing a texture that appears in later theatrical films like "Joe the King" and "L.I.E." The young person's point of view is given credit rather than patronized. There are some technical problems with focus and lighting, but the angles and framing of shots is stunning. If the explanatory narrative track was removed, this would be an artistic classic. As it is, I wonder if the producers knew the talent in young the lead actor.
SPOILER: In today's environment, the main character would have been locked up for good after firing a gun at classmates, not sent to the school psychologist. Sure, the ink blot tests are ridiculous, but there is a belief in reform that has been absent in American society since the 1970's.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Age 13 (Full Film)
This disturbing film about a young boy's slide into delinquency after his mother dies has some unforgettable imagery, especially the bizarre montage that is shown after he runs away from home. He is eventually straightened out by a school counselor and a psychologist, but what came before is way too disturbing to really be wrapped up by such a pat happy ending. The film is to be credited for really showing us what it feels like to be a troubled, unloved child growing up in a bleak, poverty-stricken world. Perhaps its very realness is why we don't buy the endingÂÂin the real world it's just not that simple, though we all wish it was. This 50s film also shows us that child abuse, divorce, delinquency, and troubled kids bringing guns to school are not new problems.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 5: Teenage Transgression.